THE PYRAMID Jr
granite barrier; but they failed The tools at their disposal could not penetrate this stone; the Pyramid builders must have searched the whole of Egypt for the hardest stone it could yield before they selected this particular variety
Fortunately for the efforts of the invaders the material at the side of the dark granite block was white limestone, a much softer stone and therefore much easier through which to quarrv They turned their attention to this and hewed a tunnel thWh it parallel with the granite block. A few feet of cutting broult them to the end of the block and into another passage It then became apparent that the entrance to the second passage had been purposely closed at some time by this gigantic granite plug conical in shape and weighing many tons, which fitted tightly into its mouth.
This further passage ran upwards at an angle which was similar to that at which the first passage ran downwards i e about twenty-six degrees. Al Mamoun's officers and men crept up this steep corridor, which was less than four feet high and a little over three feet wide. The light thrown by their torches revealed nothing but the bare walls until they reached a point where it went on horizontally. This point was really a junction where the passage was met by a lofty ascending corridor, seven times greater m height, and by a descending narrow shaft that lost itself in the very depths of the Pyramid.
Continuing along the horizontal passage, the stooping intruders, with heads bent towards the floor, found themselves eventually in a large room, which, to thek disappointment was completely empty. Its walls were quite plain, inscription-less, and only a large niche on the eastern side gave the slightest promise of any treasure-to reward their labour. To enter it they had to mount a platform and then pass into a rough passage so low they were forced to crawl along like snakes. But the passage ended abruptly in the solid masonry core of the Pyramid and though in later days they considerable enlarged this terminus, the only treasure to be found consisted of blocks of limestone.
Retracing their steps to the junction, they began to explore the long and lofty corridor, which, in later times, has received the name of Grand Gallery. It had a peculiar sloping roof, built up with seven overlapping courses. Its floor inclined upwards at precisely the same angle as the passage which led to the Gallery. The men began to climb this smooth slippery